Bay of Quinte Tourism

Three Cheers! Your Holiday Baking is Done

Bronte Freeman says she won’t blow your cover if you pass off sweets from her family’s bakery as your own this holiday season. It’s happened before.

“I’ve been to Christmas parties where the host served our squares, saying they were home-made,” laughs Bronte. “That’s totally okay; I’ll never tell.”

For all intents and purposes, the baked goods from Madoc’s ‘Hidden Goldmine Bakery‘ are home-made, with most recipes passed down from Bronte’s great-grandmother. Everything is made in-house, from scratch, and the Freeman family uses only the best ingredients. It’s no wonder they’re Trip Advisor’s top rated restaurant in Madoc, with a 5-star rating.

When I stop by to sample their famous butter tarts, the owners, Bronte’s parents Cheryl and Brad are out for the day, but Bronte and her sister Carly give me a warm welcome and make lunch recommendations.

The homemade soup is hearty and full of flavour, and the tea biscuit that accompanies it is the best I’ve had. Warm, flakey, and light. It doesn’t need butter, but I add some anyway, and it’s magic.

As I (thoroughly) enjoy my lunch, the front door keeps bringing in festive customers, picking up their Christmas baking orders. They load their arms with trays of traditional mince meat tarts, shortbread, ginger cookies, peppermint brownies, as well as pies and dense Christmas Cakes that some folks drive hours to procure. “Thanks for doing my baking for me!” they call out happily as they head back out to the snowy roads.


For dessert I want to try everything, and settle on a sampler plate with a little bit of peppermint brownie, peanut butter marshmallow square, and a butter tart. Everything is fantastic, and I immediately know why Hidden Goldmine’s butter tarts are famous. The pastry is buttery and melts in my mouth, while the centre is syrupy enough to wash my mouth with sweetness but not so runny that it dribbles down my chin. It’s perfection, and when I leave I take an extra tray of butter tarts home to share with my family, along with some other samplings I know will delight them.

For me, the cat is already out of the bag: anyone who knows me knows that I don’t bake. But this Christmas my loved ones will enjoy delectable festive treats thanks to the Freeman family, and yours can to. Whether you admit you didn’t make them yourself is entirely up to you.


Visit the Hidden Goldmine Bakery at 55 Durham St., South in Madoc, Tues-Sat, 9am-4pm, for butter tarts, fresh fruit pies, cookies, squares, home style bread, buttermilk tea biscuits, cinnamon sticky knots, and their classic golden fudge nuggets.

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